Jonathan Biss performs works by Mozart and Schumann for Performance Reimagined virtual series presented via Idagio’s Global Concert Hall in partnership with GBH
Virtual recital premieres on Saturday, October 30 at 10:00 p.m. CET / 4:00 p.m. ET and streams on demand through January 29, 2022
Jonathan Biss performs Mozart’s Rondo in a minor, K. 511 and Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6 for the Performance Reimagined virtual recital series presented by IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall in partnership with GBH on Saturday, October 30 at 10:00 p.m. CET / 4:00 p.m. ET. The stream will be available to watch until Saturday, January 29, 2022. Tickets priced from $5 can be purchased from IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall via idag.io/GBHxJonathanBiss. The ticket purchase allows the ticket buyer to choose how much they want to pay and directly supports the participating artist through IDAGIO's Fair Artist Payout Model.
The Rondo, composed after the success of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and preceding his work on Don Giovanni, is known for its complexity and varied moods. It is often referred to as “ahead of its time.” Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze is a series of 18 tone pictures inspired by his relationship with Clara Wieck and providing insight into the composer’s passions and emotions. Mr. Biss says he was drawn to the Mozart and Schumann works on the recital program on an almost daily basis during the pandemic.
“The extreme intimacy of these two works became even more meaningful to me when I was living in isolation. And since this series is called Performance Reimagined, it seemed fitting that I would choose repertoire I was drawn to at a time when life itself was, by necessity, reimagined.”
The 45-minute virtual recital follows Mr. Biss’ return to live performances with a five-city U.S. tour performing the Elgar Piano Quintet with the Doric Quartet October 5-13. Over summer he returned to the Marlboro Festival, where he is co-Artistic Director with Mitsuko Uchida, and gave a performance with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival in August of which The Plain Dealer said “No one could have asked for more from Biss… the pianist was a model of articulation and nuanced, meaningful expression.”
The recital also follows the publication of his best-selling Audible “Words + Music” memoir titled Unquiet: My Life with Beethoven in which he candidly details his struggles with anxiety. He has subsequently spoken about his anxiety, and in particular his concern that revealing his mental health issue publicly may affect how audiences receive his performances, as a guest on Ariana Huffington’s What I’ve Learned podcast and in a short film produced by the mental health resource website OC87 Recovery Diaries. Mr. Biss says this experience has brought a new affinity with Schumann.
“Probably the most known facts about Schumann are that he suffered from mental illness, attempted suicide, and died in an asylum. He was terrified that his music would show signs of this, and went back and edited many of his early works, including the Davidsbündlertänze, removing many idiosyncratic details that he thought might be perceived as tell-tale signs,” says Mr. Biss. “After he died, his widow Clara also suppressed many works that she feared would be seen as evidence of his diminishment. But ultimately, it is the extreme vulnerability that Schumann is able to express that makes his music so intensely moving. The fragility of his soul is on full display, in a way that is sometimes borderline unsettling, but is at all times an absolute gift to the listener.
“I feel a definite parallel to my own life here: for years, I thought of my anxiety as the worst of me, something to be hidden at all costs, preferably even from myself. When I would feel it rearing its head, I would try to push it away. Not only was this a strategy doomed to failure, it disconnected me—and, by extension, my listener—from the most honest and therefore most interesting parts of myself. While Schumann's life story is heartbreaking, I do feel that there is a huge amount to be learned from it, and I try to apply those lessons to my life as a musician and as a person.”
Saturday, October 30 at 10:00 p.m. CET / 4:00 p.m. ET
Streamed via IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall
Jonathan Biss, piano
MOZART Rondo in A Minor, K. 511
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6
Recorded at GBH’s Fraser Performance Studio in Boston, MA on Monday, September 20, 2021.
Tickets priced from $5 to $250 can be purchased from IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall via idag.io/GBHxJonathanBiss The ticket purchase allows the ticket buyer to choose how much they want to pay and directly supports the participating artists through IDAGIO's Fair Artist Payout Model: IDAGIO pays 80% of the net revenue directly to the performers.